As we’re getting closer and closer to the end of the year 2021, we continue our series of buying guides looking at the best watches of the year per category. We’ve already looked at the best chronographs, the best of independent watchmaking, the best traveller’s watches and more. And today, we take a closer look at one of our favourite complications, the perpetual calendar. A must-have for high-end watchmakers, and one of the most classic haute horlogerie complications, this year we’ve some particularly attractive perpetual calendar watches being released. And here are our top 5 models equipped with this complex type of display.
Editor’s note: this list reflects the preferences of MONCHROME’s editorial team and results from an internal vote. This list is, of course, non-exhaustive and remains subjective. If there are other watches equipped with a perpetual calendar launched in 2021 that made an impression on you, feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comment section.
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
Technically, this isn’t the first time a perpetual calendar is seen on the emblematic watch from A. Lange & Söhne, the Lange 1. But until recently, this calendar mechanism was always paired with a tourbillon regulator, making for the most complex watch in the Lange 1 range. Things have changed in 2021, with the arrival of a Lange 1 solely focused on the calendar display. The beauty of this watch is that, despite the multiple indications necessary to a QP, ALS has managed to keep the off-centred (and iconic) display of the Lange 1 alive. Everything has been discreetly adapted, with the calendar indications placed cleverly on or around the dial. Inside is an automatic movement derived from the Daymatic, making it a practical QP. And if the classic edition – pink gold case, grey dial – is attractive, the limited edition white gold with solid pink gold dial, as seen here, is simply delightful…
Quick facts: 41.9mm x 12.1mm – 18k white gold case, solid 18k pink gold dial (also available in 18k pink gold with grey dial) – Lange calibre L021.3, in-house, automatic, 50h power reserve, QP with outsize date, day of the week, month and leap year, moon phase display with integrated day/night indicator – Dark brown alligator leather strap – limited to 150 watches – EUR 109,000
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar
We had to bring this to the list… What you’re looking at is the winner of the Aiguille d’Or at the GPHG 2021 and, most importantly, the thinnest perpetual calendar wristwatch ever made. The seventh record for thinness presented by Bvlgari in its Finissimo collection, we somehow expected the brand to come up one day with its own vision of a QP. And the result, a watch of only 5.80mm in height, with a 2.75mm movement, is simply staggering when it comes to watchmaking expertise. The look is a classic of the collection, with a sandblasted titanium case, bracelet and dial, and the same modern vision of ultra-thin watchmaking. The display of the perpetual calendar is also an ode to the brand’s past, with Genta-inspired retrograde indications. All in all, another superb achievement by Bvlgari – and it’s not about to end there…
Quick facts: 40mm x 5.80mm – sandblasted titanium case and sandblasted titanium dial – calibre BVL 305, in-house, automatic, 60h power reserve, QP with day of the week, month and retrograde date and leap year – sandblasted titanium bracelet – EUR 60,000 in titanium (also available in platinum)
Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar Salmon
Glashütte Original‘s Senator Perpetual Calendar has been in the brand’s collection for 22 years, in multiple shapes and colours, but always with the same original display. This new edition relies on the “Excellence” evolution, meaning a powerful and ultra-precise automatic base movement, which is already available in different executions – from almost sporty, to classic elegance in gold. This year, the brand pays tribute to its long-lasting QP with a rather striking edition combining a stainless steel case with a bold salmon-coloured dial with blued applied elements and indications. The contrast is certainly far from the standards of the German school of design, but the result is not only attractive but proves that the team of Glashütte can look further than its usual boundaries. Visually refreshing, mechanically impeccable.
Quick facts: 42mm x 12.8mm – stainless steel case – galvanised rose opaline dial with blued accents – calibre 36-02, in-house, automatic, 100h power reserve, QP with Panorama Date, day of the week, month, leap year, moon phase – blue Louisiana alligator leather strap – limited edition of 100 pieces – EUR 20,500
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN
Another perpetual calendar, another completely different look. Big and bold, almost provocative, clad in an innovative material… A watch that will certainly make no sense for some enthusiasts, but this irrationality is exactly why it made it to our list. While the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar is a classic of the brand, this new version adds something special. Indeed, Kurt Klaus’ movement with its oversized display, with super-legible indications, is now housed in IWC’s innovative Ceratanium, a material that combines the lightness and structural integrity of titanium with a hardness and scratch-resistance similar to ceramic. And now, not only it is used for the case, but for the first time it’s also applied to the bracelet. And that all-black theme is just perfectly befitting the overall spirit of this IW503604.
Quick facts: 46.2mm x 15.4mm – Ceratanium case (titanium alloy with matte black ceramic treatment) – Matte black dial – Calibre 52615, in-house, automatic, 7-day power reserve, QP with date, weekday, month, year on 4 digits, perpetual moon phase for both Northern and Southern Hemispheres – Ceratanium bracelet – production limited to 150 pieces a year – EUR 46,800
Patek Philippe In-line Perpetual Calendar 5236P
Patek Philippe knows a thing or two about the perpetual calendar… A complication that is greatly represented within the brand’s collection, for several decades. The latest addition is all about its display, the so-called In-Line perpetual calendar. With the reference 5236P, the brand pays tribute to a historic model and makes the calendar visible in a superbly simple and legible elongated aperture beneath 12 o’clock, showing the day, the date (on two discs) and the months. Mechanically, this is everything but simple and it required a new movement, based on the Ref. 5235 Annual Calendar Regulator. And the design… A clean, sharp platinum case combined with a modern straight brushed gradient blue dial with a minimalistic approach. A superb take on contemporary elegance.
Quick facts: 41.3mm x 11.07mm – 950 platinum case – Blue-black gradient dial, vertical satin finish – Calibre 31-260 PS QL, in-house, automatic, 38h-48h power reserve, in-line QP with day, date, and month, Leap-year cycle and day/night indicator, moon phase – shiny navy blue alligator leather strap – EUR 113,200